Jane Cunrow is a mindset and lifestyle coach, fitness model, author and blogger who overcame lifelong, debilitating depression through adopting the bodybuilding lifestyle and competing on stage. In this practical and insightful article, you’ll discover Jane’s best tips for overcoming depression and preventing it from returning through meaningful lifestyle changes.
I transformed myself from a drunken, suicidal party girl to an energetic, vibrant fitness model at the age of 46!!
For 25 years I suffered debilitating depression.
In and out of therapy since the age of 16.
Two attempts on my life.
Three hospitalisations in a psychiatric ward.
I was addicted to drugs, alcohol & had eating disorders.
I discovered bodybuilding at the age of 45.
Through my intense journey to compete on stage, driven by vanity & low self-esteem, I inadvertently stumbled across the answers to my lifelong misery.
I declared myself fully recovered for my 50th birthday and celebrated this milestone on stage!
How did I do it…?
Here are my top 6 tips for overcoming depression and improving your mental health.
Nourish your body
I had to give up the binge drinking/eating, substance abuse, junk food..
My nutrition plan contained organic whole food only, lots of water and premium supplementation.
I had to start treating my body with respect; like the temple it actually is!
After a life time of self-neglect, being underweight and under-nourished, my body began firing on all cylinders!
Changing your diet will change your life!
Exercise is not a new idea for elevating depression, however I had only done cardio for exercise – not weightlifting.
All I cared about was being skinny and believed that cardio was the best way to lose weight.
And anyway, doesn’t lifting weights make you big and bulky? Not necessarily!
As I started to lift heavy weights, my body became more defined and shapely. With more muscle I could burn more calories while resting, but what affected me most of all was the physical strength. It is so god damn empowering!
The bodybuilding lifestyle is extremely disciplined.
To get results, consistency is critical, not just with the diet and training, but with every facet of life.
There is no room for partying, lack of sleep, eating on the run, skipping meals or the general disarray that was my life.
I had to start cooking real food from scratch for every meal, get up really early to be organised for the day ahead, sleep 8-9 hours a night, train in the early hours and follow a routine that was very foreign to me!
Nourish your Mind
After managing to adjust my lifestyle for the training and diet the next (what seemed to be insurmountable) challenge was to find the courage to strut around on stage in a bikini.
I was having nightmares about it!
I knew I had to work on my confidence and I knew I had none!
And then followed my own nightly routine of meditating, affirmations and visualizations. Also, I started seeing a hypnotist (I actually wanted to be hypnotized on stage!)
I started feeding my mind on all levels with positivity, inspiration and nourishment, blocking out the media and anything that had a negative influence on me.
I had heard about all these self-help practices before and had always thought it was a load of hooey.
But my vanity was surging through my veins; I would do anything!
Little did I know that these hooey techniques were going to serve me well past my competition.
I still practice them today!
Hire a Coach
I have seen dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, psychoanalysts in my time.
All traditional therapy based, which involved talking about, dissecting and rehashing painful events of the past to establish my misery of today.
After 20 odd years of going over the same ground, clearly it wasn’t working for me.
To achieve my dream body and compete on stage I had to engage with professionals that supported me in a way I had never been supported before.
And although the goal was not to cure my depression (which they weren’t even aware of!) they actually believed in me, respected me. They lifted me higher and they moved me forward in life.
Having a mentor or coach is a relatively new concept and yet you will not find any successful person in the world who doesn’t have one, or even two or three!
Find (or do) your Passion
My recovery is a combination of many factors but if I had to pick one it would be this.
Finding my passion and purpose in life has me jumping out of bed. Without hesitation, at 4.30 in the morning, has given me the strength to adhere to the discipline that most can’t fathom, has seen me enduring incredible pain and gives me a feeling of personal empowerment and reward like I have never known.
We are all here for a specific reason and I had searched and searched for mine, believing it was hiding behind that elusive white picket fence.
But your passion in life has nothing to do with others and it has nothing to do with your family or relationships.
It is all about you and the unique gifts that you have to offer, which are just waiting for you to discover.
I now fully understand and appreciate the incredible power of premium health in body, mind and spirit.
And no one should have to go to the extremes I did to work this out!
The lessons I learned and many of the habits I adopted can be easily incorporated into anyone’s life without the extremity.
More details about my journey and all my secrets and tips I share in my book available on Amazon.